Staff Reporter
SPAIN'S Minister of the Interior, José Antonio Alonso, yesterday announced that new crack units to fight organised crime would be set up in the Balearics, Murcia, Valencia and Andalucia, while a special unit to control drug trafficking is being studied for Galicia.

Alonso was speaking in the Senate, in answer to a question by Socialist Senator Juan Barranco, who had asked what the government was planning to do to tackle organised groups in Spain.

Alonso said that the fight against organised crime was one of his government's priorities, and went on to enumerate steps which had been taken to tackle the increased presence of organised gangs in Spain.

He pointed out that a Special Response Group to fight organised crime had been set up in the Costa del Sol -- dubbed Costa del Crime by some British newspapers -- last December, “and it has already produced results, such as ‘Operation White Whale' against money laundering.” A new group with similar characteristics will shortly be set up on the east coast, based in Benidorm, and it will operate in Murcia and Valencia.
The Costa del Sol group will increase its range of action to take in Cadiz, the minister said.
As to the Balearics, Alonso said that the Guardia Civil have included the creation of Teams Against Organised Crime in the islands, as well as Alicante and Malaga for this year and next.

The work of the special courts in areas such as the Balearics, Costa del Sol, Canary Islands and Catalonia was also singled out for praise by Alonso.
Barranco said that the previous government of José Maria Aznar had “done very little” in this field. He then praised the results of the White Whale operation in Marbella and Tacos in Barcelona, which lead to the arrest of 50 people in two organisations alleged to have laundered more than 1'000 million euros.

In another joint police operation, ten people have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a businessman in Ibiza last year.
The man, from Madrid, and allegedly a mafia leader, was shot by four hooded men as he was dining in a restaurant. The Guardia Civil have been investigating the case for eight months.

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